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Approaches to Political Theory - POL00001M

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  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Monica Brito-Vieira
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20

Module aims

The module helps students to become more aware of, and to make explicit, the assumptions involved in the study of political theory. To this purpose, the course provides an introduction to contextual, genealogical, conceptual, ideological, dialectical and critical approaches, while it also invites evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of these different approaches through a close study of seminal texts applying a particular approach to the analysis of a particular political-theoretical problem.

Module learning outcomes

The chief learning objectives of the module are:

1) to become familiar with different approaches and methods students might utilise in their own work

2) to be able to examine the relation between substantive and methodological concerns

3) to be able to reflect critically on their own methodological assumptions and choices

4) to understand that there is no single right way of conducting research in political theory, but a plurality of approaches, whose merits and limitations deserve consideration and critical scrutiny.


Task Length % of module mark
4000 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
4000 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written timely feedback on their formative assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor’s feedback and guidance hours.

Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessment no later than six weeks after submission; and the module tutor will hold a specific session to discuss feedback, which students can also opt to attend. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor’s regular feedback and guidance hours

Indicative reading

David Leopold and Marc Stears (eds.), Political Theory. Methods and Approaches (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

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Course changes for new students